Helping Vets Transition to Civilian Jobs

201604.05

Jose Espinoza in military uniformMany of us give lip service to service veterans, but when it comes to hiring them, we fall short. Not only is this short-sighted, it’s an economic disaster.

We, the citizens of the United States, invested vast sums training our service personnel. We should be capitalizing on that investment when they re-enter civilian life rather than setting aside these unique and uniquely-skilled men and women.

Jose Espinoza, Bail Bondsman

Jose Espinoza was just such a veteran. He departed the military with 19 years of distinguished service under his belt. His desire to serve was not exhausted with this military service. He returned to school after his service and attained a Masters in Business Administration. He elected to invest his time, experience and education in his own bail bonds business in California.

You have certainly heard or seen depictions of bail bondsmen on television or in movies. The real business has much less to do with dashing around looking for felons than exercising cool judgement, expert leadership and understanding a balance sheet. Armed with his education and military training, Mr. Espinoza established an now thriving small business, serving his community as he did his country.

The BreakLine Program

Other veterans, without the education or direction of Mr. Espinoza were floundering in California communities such as Sacramento when BreakLine was founded. This program that combines federal and local support is designed to help veterans transition their talents and intellect to civilian industries. Cooperating with several well-known companies such as PayPal, BreakLine offers training and mentoring services with particular emphasis on high tech opportunities in keeping with the specialty of the region.

Though only a pilot, BreakLine has already made a difference in the lives of the initial group of enrolled veterans. The program combines MBA type courses with introductions to local companies and hands-on group projects. Some of the first graduates of the program have already landed career-level jobs. One of the graduates helpfully pointed out that one advantage of hiring a veteran is opening an opportunity to others like him. Most military people have vast friends and acquaintances in and out of the service. When a manager stops by his desk and says “I need another two people like you” he can likely give him a list of 20 to select from.

Jose Espinoza Supporting other Veterans
Had he not started his own business, Mr. Espinoza would have been a prime candidate for such a program. In his role as local community leader and business owner, he is always on the lookout for an opportunity to lend another veteran a hand. His advice and leadership are equally at the disposal of a fellow veteran.

Many former service personnel are excellent matches for other small businesses. They have the leadership skills needed to take charge of a new enterprise; they have experience of long hours of work under difficult, tense situations to prepare them to put their all into the new effort; and they have a low-to-no tolerance for failure. In spite of this background, many veterans find transitioning back to the less structured, civilian world difficult and are appreciative for people like Jose Espinoza. Even if they only want to chat with someone who’s been there, its a great comfort.

Supporting Those Who Served
No veteran enters the service because he or she thinks it will lead to a great job later on. Neither do they feel that country owes them a good career after they conclude their service. However, considering the investment in time and training we have already made in these men and women and that we do, in fact, owe them our lives, supporting them after service is both humane and sensible. As a vet, Jose Espinoza helps and supports other veteran-owned business as much as he can. We all have that same opportunity.

Look for a chance to support our veterans; it is never a mistake.